Derek Zheng

Monta Vista High School
Cupertino, CA

Going the Extra Mile

Derek Zheng is no stranger to success. He holds one district and five school records in Track & Field and has been named his varsity football team’s Offensive MVP. He serves as student body president, maintains a 3.9 GPA, and is a National AP Scholar.

But Derek also knows a thing or two about adversity. Multiple injuries have been a reminder to him to stay humble, strengthen his resolve, and to never forget to put in the work and pay attention to details that ultimately lead to success. While a hamstring injury his sophomore year sidelined him for five weeks, he didn’t give into the frustration of missing out. The thrill of running kept him motivated, and, later that season, he ultimately set a personal record in the 400M while helping his team break a long-standing school record.

Derek’s passion as an athlete spills over into his other interests. He’s a natural with technology. He spent his summer at the Garcia Summer Research Scholars Program at Stony Brook University studying nanocomposite thermoplastic polymers and their use in 3D printing. Derek will share his discoveries and intellectual passion with scientists from all over the world at the 2018 Fall Materials Research Society Conference in Boston. He’s also a leader in his school’s Robotics club and is heavily involved in local hackathons. Derek leveraged his skills and his position as student body president to lead a project to develop a new app to promote school functions. The app communicates school events and information to engage students and members of the community. The experience has also inspired Derek to continuing using his unique talents for the greater good. “Find your purpose, and everything else will come easy. Setbacks only give you a better vantage point to see the bigger picture.”




  • Captain
  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All-Conference
  • All-District
  • MVP
  • Track & FIeld

    • Captain
    • Varsity Letter Winner
    • All-Conference
    • All-District
    • Five School Records Holder
    • District Record Holder
    • Central Coast Sectional Championships – 4th Place

Academic Honors & Awards

  • Garcia Summer Research Scholar
  • USA Computing Olympiad Gold Level
  • National AP Scholar
  • Cupertino Hackathon Finalist
  • National Honor Society



School & Community Involvement

  • Student Body President
  • Robotics Club
  • Monta Vista Computer Science Club
  • California Scholarship Federation
  • Link Crew
  • Student Government
  • Key Club





“I love challenges, tackling adversity, and working to better myself in every way possible.”

~ Derek Zheng ~